A gripping, richly imagined fantasy set in an alternate ancient African world in which a Black girl finds her power and saves her people from evil, by the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning author of Black Panther: The Young Prince.
In the land of Alkebulan, twelve-year-old Asha is an orphan, raised by Madame S, the proprietor of a traveling carnival. When Madame S is attacked by ghoulish creatures, she manages to tell Asha before she dies, “Seek the Underground Kingdom, where the black flowers bloom.”
Asha doesn’t understand the mysterious words, but they launch her onto a page-turning quest to protect her people and stop an ancient evil. Along the way, she uncovers shocking secrets about the family she never knew and begins to find her place in the world as she discovers her own untapped powers.
Ronald L. Smith is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning author of Hoodoo, The Mesmerist, The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away, Gloom Town, Where the Black Flowers Bloom, and Black Panther: The Young Prince. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. www.strangeblackflowers.com
"Inspired by African mythology and folklore, this lushly wrought hero’s journey touches deftly on themes of family, fate, forgiveness, and justice." — Publishers Weekly
"A wild and beautiful coming-of-age story of a girl who has far more power than she knows." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
(Black Panther: Spellbound) "An action-filled story of friendship, youthful curiosity, and exploration that centers Black kids and is layered with anecdotes and storylines that highlight themes of social justice and power." — Kirkus Reviews
(Black Panther: The Young Prince) "Energetic, fast-paced and adventurous, this will keep readers riveted . . . a must purchase." — School Library Journal
(Gloom Town) "This atmospheric tale conjures up a seaside setting full of secrets and long-lost legends . . . the intriguing characters, eerie moments, and lurking peril prove a winning combination." — Publishers Weekly
(Hoodoo) "A riveting story with a dollop of southern gothic appeal." — Booklist
"Elaborate worldbuilding will draw readers in, and creatures inspired by African mythology add freshness and excitement to the story. . . . Hand this to young readers seeking adventurous new fantasy." — School Library Journal